I believe that closing should be made less rewarding and less exposed -- make the list of users who voted to close less prominent, for starters. I'm not sure the
[Closed] suffix in the title adds any value either; it seems to be there simply to hang the question up as an example more than anything. Most other sites (blogs, forums etc.) have no problem with simply writing something along the lines of "Comments are no longer accepted" at the bottom of the page.
Many members are no doubt aware of the exposure on some level, and make a habit of dishing out closures liberally for that reason -- effectively almost ensuring an all-alpha moderation team.
Or, if there's concern that making the closures less exposed also removes accountability, maybe we can consider other solutions. Either way, I want to bring attention to the fact that this is likely an issue.
No one doubts that the moderation on SO and SE is becoming increasingly stringent, although the question of whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is in debate.
My suspicion is that this isn't what the majority of users (both long-standing and recent) really want (see my discussion on P.SE here, where particularly a lot of users have concerns about the moderation), but that we ended up with alpha-personality, overzealous, micromanaging moderators because of a sampling bias in the elections, and to a lesser extent, a base of overly trigger-happy users.
Closing questions earns users a lot of exposure, with the SE UI putting their names in huge linked letters in the familiar Closed by __. As a result, much as the US presidential and congressional candidate with the most advertising spending almost wins over 90% of the time, with the members that dish out the most close votes being the most visible on the site, they end up earning the most votes.
It isn't helped by the fact that making meaningful suggestions on how a question might be improved is more time-consuming than clicking on the Close button and commenting "See the FAQ". For many people, especially those who like feeling powerful, it's also less primally rewarding.
Although it may be too late because the culture has already been established (and reflected in updated versions of the FAQs), it may, over a long period of time, lead to a different -- and I'd argue more representative -- group of moderators. To me it's becoming increasingly clear that the moderation on SE (especially more conversational ones like Programmers) is about habitually stretching the interpretation of the FAQ to close/delete as often as possible, than about maintaining focused and good content.